Vancouver, BC.  Day 1

Arrived in a Vancouver a little late for the annual general meeting of the Assembly of First Nations.  My original flight from North Bay, yesterday at 3:25 was cancelled as was the next flight out at 8:30 p.m.  Apparently thunderstorms and tornado warnings closed Lester B. Pearson International Airport in Toronto yesterday afternoon and early evening.  I’m just glad I didn’t get stuck in Toronto.  Left at 6:10 this morning and landed in Vancouver at 10:30’ish.

Upon arrival at the Vancouver Convention Centre, I quickly went to work to set up a Union of Ontario Indians’ caucus that will take place tonight at 6:30 p.m. local time.  I spoke with both National Chief’s candidates to ensure they would attend our briefing meeting.  Also re-acquainted myself with Larry Sault who is working for Bill Wilson’s campaign.  Allen Luby and Marsha Smoke were taking the reigns of Fontaine’s campaign.

As I am writing, the debate between Bill Wilson (BC) and Phil Fontaine (MA) is heating up.  Wilson gave a very strong speech that will distance his more hardline, treaty-based approached from the more conciliatory incumbent.  Of course, Fontaine bestowed the virtues of his solutions-based approach and the successes he has obtained in the past term.?
Fontaine, the most eloquent speaker of the two, used his twenty minutes to maintain his support base.  Wilson attempted to go for the throat with assertions that these negotiated approaches of Fontaine is treachery.  Most delegates missed his dig.

Finishing a news release supporting Commissioner Gwen Boniface.  The embattled OPP boss is being targeted by the Caledonia Citizens Coalition and some others within her ranks.  They feel she should resign and the OPP should be more forceful.  First Nations leadership disagree with this Harris-like approach.  The news release will go our tomorrow morning.